«The political elite of Ukraine hopes that the fall in oil prices will curb interventionist ambitions of her neighbor Russia, and slightly increase the impact of the Western sanctions,» — writes the correspondent of The Wall Street Journal’s Nathan Hodge.
With oil prices at 30 dollars a barrel Ukrainian officials expressed cautious optimism that perhaps the Russian President and his dependent oil the government will be forced to restrain his tough foreign policy, the article says.
«If you have money, you can be macho», — said Boris Lozhkin, the head of administration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
«At the official level, relations between Moscow and Kiev remain extremely cold,» notes the author.
However, some Ukrainian officials regard the recent appointment of Boris Gryzlov Putin, Russia’s representative on implementation of the Minsk peace agreement is a signal that the Kremlin is more serious about resolving the conflict: Gryzlov, former interior Minister, is considered more a technocrat than a «hawk,» writes Hodge. In addition, the author recalls a meeting in January, Victoria Nuland , and Vladislav Surkov, dedicated to the Ukrainian issue.
«For Kiev now is a critical moment: in a few months, the time of the revision of the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia after the annexation of Crimea. Ukrainian lawmakers and government officials assert that they need more time for sanctions strengthen the position of Kiev, while he continues to argue with Moscow on the implementation of the peace agreement,» reads the article.
«The U.S. administration and the Russian government support the Minsk agreement. But many Ukrainians wonder whether Washington is configured to hurry with the resolution of the crisis, because the presidential term of Barack Obama ends a year», — the journalist notes.
«Obama has less than a year, and they really don’t want to roll up your sleeves and do something special when it comes to Ukraine,» — said the Deputy of the Ukrainian Rada Victoria Wojcicki.
The EU approved the extension of sanctions against Russia in the end of last year, but only after Italy initially blocked the measure, reminds the author. And after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, when the European governments were more willing to listen, Putin took the opportunity to improve ties with Europe. These steps have increased the fears in Ukraine that Russia will come at their expense, the article says.
«European and Ukrainian officials claim that some countries, such as France and Italy, can make concessions on the question of extension of sanctions in the middle of the year, although there is still wide agreement that the issue of key economic sanctions should be linked to long-term stabilization in Eastern Ukraine,» writes Hodge.
«There are States that want to force Russia to comply with Minsk agreement, but there are countries in Europe that desperately seek to lift the sanctions, says a senior Ukrainian diplomat Dmitry Kuleba. — We have a huge fight in June».
The Wall Street Journal. Low oil prices supported Ukraine’s hopes that Russia will be more accommodating 11.02.2016